1 out of 5 of our neighbors will be going to bed hungry tonight.
Food insecurity is real and prevalent here, in our community. Food insecurity is defined as the condition when people have a lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active healthy life for all household members. The way most communities mobilize to address this problem is by supporting charity-based food pantries and soup kitchens. Organizations such as Community Stewpot and Gateway Rescue Mission depend on donations of food and/or funds to stock their shelves so they can provide for those in need. Often times the call for support comes in the form of a food drive… when the public is urged to share items out their kitchen pantries and make the donation of foodstuffs that is picked up by volunteer labor.
Food drives are great… but think about it… when you get an empty paper bag at your front door from a church or civic group hosting a food drive, what do you usually do? Do you go to our pantry and literally “clean it out”? A can of soup, some dry pasta, a tin of nuts (leftover from 2 Christmases ago). All these tend to be the things folks offer up. The intent is honorable, but the result is weak. A soup kitchen needs bulk amounts of good, healthy and appropriate foods in order to put together large meal services. A food pantry needs quality and in-date non-perishables that are healthy (low-sugar, low fat) and will serve to supplement a family’s weekly needs in a comprehensive way. So, when we give an array of dissimilar canned items, we are being kind, but not really meeting the core needs of the feeding entity.
There is a better way, and it is called Extra Table. Just as you would set an extra seat at your table for a dinner guest, we’ve found a way to set a metaphorical “extra table” to feed needy families throughout central Mississippi.
Extra Table is the brainchild of Mississippi restaurateur and culinary author Robert St. John. The ingenuity behind the Extra Table system is the direct delivery by commercial freight of relevant foodstuffs perfectly sized to the needs of a food pantry or soup kitchen. Extra Table supplies these entities with the food they need every month. Extra Table does that by aggregating cash donations and then using wholesale bulk purchasing power to pay for good, wholesome food and having it delivered to food centers in need. Extra Table is proudly partnered with the nation’s largest food distribution company, Sysco. By partnering with Sysco Extra Table is able to purchase food at the lowest possible price point, thereby taking the donated dollar further than it could go otherwise.
In a nutshell, Extra Table is: Donations from individuals and businesses added together to larger amounts of money. It is then paid to the Sysco Food Wholesale company* to buy large amounts of wholesome food appropriately sized and selected that is dramatically discounted due to the bulk buying power and then directly delivered and stocked by professional driver into the pantries of feeding organizations in need.
(* When Extra Table places an order from Sysco brand new food is sent to the designated partner agency. Sysco takes care of delivery and unloads the food from the truck for the recipient agencies. Be assured that the food from Sysco is brand new food that is not expired, and the cans aren’t even dented. Extra Table wants to get our agencies the best we can and Sysco is helping to do just that. Within each food bundle is the healthiest food that can be found. Extra Table is committed to getting wholesome nutritious food into the hands of those who need it, and the foods purchased meet those criteria.*)
So how are we getting involved? What does BRAVO!, Broad Street and Sal & Mookie’s have to do with this? Simply put, we see the beauty and efficiency within the Extra Table format. We want to help get the word out about this great program. Our three restaurants will be the hub from which folks here in the tri-county area can easily make cash donations to fund the stocking of shelves and feeding of people at our two local target food banks: Gateway Rescue Mission and Community Stewpot.
How can you make a donation? We’ve got three easy ways:
1. When you dine at any of our three restaurants, there will be a donation line on your check to make a personal donation of any amount.
2. Don’t have time to dine? No problem! Stop by any of the three restaurants and simply drop off a check made out to Extra Table
3. Want to donate online? Visit any of our websites for the Extra Table secure donation link.
Accountability is important to us. We will keep track of all donations and report back to you the success of our efforts together to launch Extra Table for the metro Jackson area.
Want even more info? Visit ExtraTable.org for more information about this great organization!